Les Zanotti Memories, Alumni Party 2014

2014 Rippey Alumni Reunion Speech presented by Les Zanotti to the Rippey Alumni gathering on May 24, 2014 in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Class of 1954.

From Les Zanotti  June 27, 2014 to Jean Borgeson with permission to share with others.

2014 Rippey Alumni Reunion Speech presented by Les Zanotti to the Rippey Alumni gathering on May 24, 2014 in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Class of 1954.

From Les Zanotti  June 27, 2014 to Jean Borgeson with permission to share with others.

"I’ve enclosed a copy of my speech and happy a few enjoyed it.  It sounds pretty flat just reading some facts, names and history.

I understand Velda is going through some very tough times right now and I would like to thank her for the hard work, dedication and devotion all these years for making this Alumni Program what it is today.

Our class had dinner last night at the Pattee Hotel and I would like to thank Janet and Bev for putting it all together.  We shared a lot of old stories and laughs.  There were seven classmates attending.

I received a copy last spring of a list of all the graduating classes from Rippey High School from 1892-1962.  The smallest class was two in 1892 and the largest, 35 in 1938.

Our class of 1954 started in 1941 with 24 in Kindergarten.  Of those 24, 13 graduated in 1954.  We picked up six more students along the way and our class ended up with 12 girls and seven boys.  Unfortunately, prior to our 50th reunion, we lost two:  Neal Carpenter and Albert Lape.  They last year, we lost two more:  Dolores Chase Ramirez and Gary Woodley.

Also, since we last met 10 years ago, Shirley lost her husband, Kenny Glenn.  Kenny was from Grand Junction and a great guy.  We played many baseball games against him.  I know he is dearly missed.  Then, just this last year, Janet lost her husband, Jerald Fessler.  We all grew up together, as he was two years ahead of us in school.  We played many baseball and basketball games together.  He was a fun-loving guy and he, too, will be greatly missed.  Also, over the years, some of us have lost children and grandchildren.

Our class of 1954 was led by president, Bev. Todd, vice-president, Dolores Chase, and secretary-treasurer, Pat Glidden.

Our Class Motto was “Build for character, not for fame”.

Our class sponsor was the greatest educator to walk the halls of Rippey High, Mr. Jake Peters.  During his tenure, Jake witnessed 40 classes graduate from Rippey High.

We had a very active class with 14 of us in the band.  Another four were involved in vocal groups, so we had 18 out of 19 participating in music programs.  Janet Holmes, Shirley Anschutz and Kenny Killam all received ones at the state music competition.

The reason so many of us were involved was because during our junior high years, a new music director, Ollie Joyner, came to Rippey.  He really got a lot of new kids involved in music and when he left Rippey after our freshman year, there were 63 kids in the band.  Considering the size of the school, that was remarkable.

During our Senior year, a marching band was started.  The thing I remember most is we all ended up with NEW white bucks!

There were seven girls on the basketball team.  Janet Holmes started all four years at guard.  Norma Hane was selected to the All County and Tri-County first teams.  I noticed that Cheryl Holmes and Sally Monthei were selected, also.  The girls record their last year was 15 and 9.  Also, two of the girls, Charlene Roberts and Roberta Fouch were cheerleaders.  “Go Bulldogs”.

On the boys’ side, we had four out of seven who played sports.  We had a good baseball team our last year and went to the District Tournament and were beaten by Slater.

The highlight of our basketball season was playing the sub-state tournament in Jefferson.  We were one game away from going to state.  I remember looking up into the stands and saw what seemed like half of Rippey in attendance.  People I had never seen before at a game.  We also had new war-up suits—a gift from the Class of 1953.  Anyway, we played poorly and were beaten by, you guessed it, Slater.  Dan Peters and another guy from our team were also named to the County & Try-County teams.  Our record was 26 & 6.

After graduation, Phyllis Burrell and Joann Hunt went on to Iowa State and Dolores Chase and Roberta Fouch went to nursing school in Des Moines.

Five out of our seven guys graduated from college.  For a small school, that was outstanding, I would say.

Those of us who grew up in Rippey during the 40’s and 50’s really got Rippey at her best.   People took pride in living here.  There weren’t any fancy big beautiful homes, but what people had, they kept up—houses painted, lawns were mowed and there was no junk lying around.  This was their town!

We had blacktopped streets, which most small towns never saw.  We had one of the best baseball parks in Iowa with lights and a grass infield.

And, how about downtown?  At one time, we had three grocery stores, Senter, Thornburgh, and Ed Galivan.  Also, two car dealerships,  Jiggs Fry Chevrolet and I. J. Burk Ford.  Two banks managed by Dwight Crumley and Clark Bardole.  Thornburgh café, Library—LeRoy Overman barbershop and his wife, Eloise, had a beauty salon across the street.  We had a lumber yard.  Jay States had the drugstore./  You can see I’m working my way down Main Street.  Across the street was Killiam’s Hardware.  Irwin Correy had the tavern until he was injured. We had a shoe repair shop run by a guy named Beanie.  Back across the street, we had a pool hall run by Wes Rittgers.  Down across the highway, Leck High had a Mobile Station.  Then, up the road, Errol Wilson had the Phillips station.  We were blessed to have Dr. Chase.  Orrie Stevens had a great Sales Barn operation, which burned down, but afterwards, he had one of the largest farm machinery sales businesses in the Midwest.

I mention all of these names because in going through this list of Rippey High graduates, all but a couple of these people graduated from here.  And, almost all of these people had children who also graduated from Rippey High.

This was their town. They invested in it, they built it and they loved it. In walking through our cemetery, you will see most are buried here.  Each time one of these people retired or died, a little bit of Rippey went with them.

Also, going through the list of grads, you see all those names connected to our great farming tradition.  Farming, of course, was the economic force behind the whole area.  Everyone worked and most worked hard.  There were no white-collar management jobs around here.  They worked because there was no choice, as there weren’t any government handouts as we have today.

By today’s standards, most of us were living in poverty conditions.  No one complained because everyone was in the same boat.  If you were fortunate enough to have a basement, you could have a coal stoker, which would heat your home around the clock and also give you hot water.

The rest of us had a coal or wood burning stove for cooking and warmth and a cold water faucet. No other inside plumbing.  It wasn’t that people couldn’t afford anything else; it was just that nothing else was available.

It wasn’t until the late 40’s when natural gas came to Rippey.  I can remember when we got a gas stove for heat and indoor plumbing with a flush stool and hot water!  Talk about home improvements!

You know, normally having two of something is better than one.  I’ve always had this question and maybe someone here has the answer.  Was it more prestigious to have a two-hole outhouse rather than a one-hole? ---You’re no help!!

Our class motto was , “Build for character, not for fame.”  None of us became famous, but on the character issue, I really believe that all of us who experienced growing up here during the 40’s and 50’s had a very good foundation on which to build for who we are today.  I think we all turned out pretty darn good, and I for one, would not change a thing!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Velda.  I thank you all for letting me ramble on and reminisce about old times and I thank you for honoring our great Class of ’54.”